Social Distancing, COVID-19

Those who don't wear masks or keep social distancing will be exposed to fines and even jail time.

Puerto Rico Health Secretary Lorenzo González, who announced today that he would self-quarantine after being in contact with someone with COVID-19, signed a ruling that establishes administrative fees for those who do not comply with Executive Order 2020-062 to curtail the spread of the pandemic.

Regulation 9210, signed by González and approved by the undersecretary of State, María Marcano de Lebrón, was issued on August 21 and is effective immediately.

Any person that violates the provisions of the regulation will incur a less serious and sentenced crime, and may be punished with up to six months, a fine upward to $5,000, and/or both penalties at the discretion of the court.

“Any person who fails to comply with the measures required by this regulation will incur an administrative fault and will be penalized with a fine of $100. In the case of legal persons, the fine will be $500. In the event that the offender is a minor, their father, mother, or guardian will be responsible for paying the fine," the regulation reads.

The regulation establishes that the use of masks will be mandatory at all times outside the home, whether in closed spaces or outdoors. Its use will not be required while traveling by car, alone, or when accompanied only by members of the family unit.

Other preventive measures included are keeping social distancing, as well as avoiding and refraining from coordinating or participating in events and activities that involve the conglomeration of people without social distancing.

Like the executive order that will be in effect until September 11, the regulation orders people to stay at home if they have been exposed to someone who has been diagnosed as positive for COVID-19.

Moreover, it provides that all legal entities must require the use of masks, hand disinfection, temperature measurement, and social distancing for entry into an establishment—closed or outdoors.

Once the fine has been issued, the offender must pay the ticket within a term of three working days from the moment it was issued.

"Payment will be made at the Department of the Treasury or at any internal revenue collection office. After this term, the amount of the fine not paid will double," the ruling states.The fined person who believes that they have not committed any infraction will have 30 days to request an appeal for judicial review.

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